Never provoke an idle comedy writer. They may not be powerful, but what they lack in power, they more than make up for with petty grudge-holding and free time. Some backstory is probably necessary…
Screen Junkies has a recurring feature called Honest Trailers in which we skewer popular films with a version of the trailer that reveals the dirty underlying truths about the movie. As a Screen Junkies writer, let me be the first to say that they’re always HILARIOUS and witty.
Which is why it ruffled so many feathers when MTV took issue with our take on the Skyfall send-up. The Skyfall Honest Trailer may not have been our single favorite Honest Trailer, but that’s just because they’re all so good that they’re tied for first in our hearts.
It hurt our feelings that a site which is now as devoted to film as it is to good, original music thought that our criticisms of the film were baseless, so one of the writers of the Skyfall Honest Trailer, Ian Weinreich, decided to critique the critique.
Here’s Ian’s response. We await MTV’s re-response with bated breath.
Film writer Kevin P. Sullivan has a few bones to pick with us over our latest episode of Honest Trailers: Skyfall. If you haven’t heard of Kevin Sullivan, then you’re missing some of the most well written reviews of movies like Singin’ in the Rain on his blog for MTV, showing that he truly understands the core audience he’s supposed to be writing for.
He believes that Honest Trailers has “devolved into a series of nit-picky video essays that seemingly hates every aspect of the movies.” Lest Mr. Sullivan think I’m a dilettante on the subject of 007, let me just say that I’ve been watching Bond my entire life, was named after Ian Fleming, and have gotten laid with no less than three Bond movies playing in the background. So while I may apparently be a loser, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Bond.
Mr. Sullivan was nice enough to give a point-by-point rebuttal to our Honest Trailer episode in which we try to make people laugh and be entertained by pointing out things us fans found striking about Skyfall. It was not meant, as he apparently wishes it were, to be a critical analysis worthy of Cahiers du Cinema. So now a point-by-point rebuttal rebuttal.
Sam Mendes has no experience direction action.
While it’s true that Mendes has never directed anything like “Skyfall,” every actiondirector has to start somewhere. Does Screen Junkies take into account that he knocked it out of the park on his first attempt? No.
Mr. Sullivan begins with “While it’s true that Mendes has never directed anything like Skyfall,….therefore negating his argument before he even begins. A better argument would’ve been to bring up all the great shootout scenes in Road to Perdition.
It’s overrated because Quantum of Solace sucked.
You can’t assume that the nearly universal praise for “Skyfall” comes from an equally widespread need to lift the series reputation after one bad installment.
Actually I love Quantum, but I’m one of the few people, and if Mr. Sullivan had paid attention to the hype of the new film’s production, he would’ve noticed that every interview the filmmakers gave was an apology for the last movie and a need to up the ante to make up for it.
Bond doesn’t hide his name.
This isn’t a realistic espionage drama. Did you notice that henchman who got eaten by a komodo dragon? That should have tipped you off.
Mr. Sullivan postulates that it’s okay that people know Bond’s name since this isn’t a realistic espionage drama evidenced by the fact that a henchman gets eaten by a komodo dragon. If he’d done his homework, he would know that the Komodo dragon, also known as the komodo monitor, has killed over a dozen people in the last 20 years. I suppose he also missed headlines like ‘Komodo dragons maul man to death’, ‘Komodo dragon attacks terrorize villages,‘ ‘komodo dragons kill Indonesian fisherman’ from just a simple Google search.
Why didn’t the train in the opening sequence stop?
Because that would make for an interesting chase sequence, right?
The explanation that had it stopped, there would’ve been no interesting chase sequences is valid. He’s right, there wouldn’t have been one. So then maybe the writers should have come up with something better that explains why as a train is torn apart and guns go off on its roof, the conductor just keeps it going.
Why aren’t the passengers scared?
They look scared to me, but more importantly, why do you care?
Meh, they really don’t look too scared, Kevin, come on. Maybe a little bewildered, but scared? Wouldn’t you be freaking out if the back of your train was ripped off behind you like the plane from Lost and some rando dude just jumped in?
Bond’s beach time was ‘anticlimactic’, and there’s CNN in English.
I don’t think “anticlimactic” is the word you’re looking for, and the CNN bit is an old screenwriting trick where a news broadcast helps get a piece of exposition across that would have otherwise broken up the story in an awkward way. Also, ‘Skyfall’ is a movie.
No, that’s the word I’m looking for. But thanks, Thesaurus. Bond falls from a towering height into a waterfall with two gunshot wounds in Turkey. Somehow, without any help, he makes it all the way to South America. We see none of that happen, don’t know how, don’t know how he fought to survive, made it out of the water, patch himself up, found a fake passport, evade his own organization and go overseas. He just popped up in one shot. That, I believe, is anticlimactic.
And ahhh, thank you for defining what exposition means. All this time I thought newscasts in movies were actually telling me real news. Why a cheap, local bar in South American would be playing Wolf Blitzer, I still don’t know.
Word association, office politics, art theory, Judi Dench frowning, and landscape shots are boring.
Really? Because the word association session is a well-written scene that establishes Bond’s troubled link to his childhood home, M’s meeting with Mallory sets the stage for her public fallout, and Bond’s introduction to Q is a fun way of exploring the theme and point of the whole bloody movie. And the landscape shots? You mean Roger Deakins’ Oscar-nominated cinematography? Are you sure you actually like movies?
Mr. Sullivan lights us up on this one. I guess he didn’t find the pacing of the entire second act of the movie slow, long and drawn out. But that’s his opinion. He’s entitled to it. Except that he uses the phrase ‘whole bloody movie.’ And unless he’s British, he’s not allowed to use the word bloody like that. What a tosser.
Silva’s plan is unrealistically convoluted.
“Okay, we’ll let this one slide. (But, you know, it’s a movie.)”
Well, Casino Royale was also a movie. The plot of that one was a villain plays a high-stakes card game to win back the money he lost from terrorists. Bond tries to stop him. Wow, see how simple that is and easy to follow and from one of the most beloved recent Bond pics? Imagine that.
It takes too long for Silva to show up.
Yeah, and when he does, his entrance is more impactful because of the wait.
Sure, it’s impactful, but he’s such a great character, we just wish he would’ve appeared earlier because he’s wasted for half the film.
Silva “makes Bond gay.”
I’m pretty sure this is homophobic, and you missed the point.
Accusation: We’re homophobic. Reality: It’s funny when played with porn music in the background. Lighten up, man.
The gadgets are lame, and the radio is bigger than one Bond had in the 60s.
Sometimes for comedic relief you have to ignore the continuity of a 50-year-old film franchise.
I’m not sure he knows what “comedic relief” actually means since it was not done for any comedic relief. There was no comedy. There was no relief.
The writers stole agent list plot from “Mission: Impossible.”
…and ‘Mission: Impossible’ stole it from countless spy movies, TV shows, and novelsbefore it. Everything is a remix.”
I’m sorry, did you just say “Everything is a remix”? What post-modern, pop-art Eurotrash film magazine did you read that one out of?
The fight scenes are too “artsy” to actually see.
Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins would like to apologize for thinking that movies should be interesting to look at.
Um, no. They were trying to be interesting to look at but tried too hard and like we said, you really had to strain to see what the hell was going on.
The ending is ripped off from Home Alone.
…or the western trope of a last stand. It’s a western, not ‘Home Alone‘.
Sure, it all harkens back to a last stand motif. But isn’t it funny when you see Judi Dench making light bulb bombs with that music playing over it? Doesn’t Joe Pesci look so pissed?
Bond essentially rapes Severine.
She doesn’t seem to be resisting…like, at all.
Good luck using that line at your trial, bro.
The hard drive storyline disappears.
True, but couldn’t that have just been a ruse to get MI6 involved from the start?
First, you started with “True” so you agree with us. Second, it was a ruse to get MI6 involved. But it still exists, ya know? This list is still out in the open. Isn’t it kind of, you know, important they get it back?